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tv   Religion Ethics Newsweekly  PBS  April 17, 2011 10:00am-10:30am PDT

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. america is addicted to oil, with which is often imported from unstable parts of the year. >> and last month president obama announced a plan that would have the united states cutting it's foreign oil by a third by the year 25. he said the government will lead the way by consuming less. >> that's why today i'm directing agencies to purchase 100% alternative fuel, hybrid, or electric vehicles by 2015. >> there's been a lot of talk, but what about action? our next guest has reported on some real life solutions to consuming less and thinks perhaps making a cultural change is the way to go. lisa is the author of oil on the brain and the director of the energy policy initiative at the new america foundation in cooperation with our pbs colleagues at blueprint america shea joins us now. welcome back to "need to know."
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>> reporter: in justifying last month's military intervention in libya, president obama used solely humanitarian reasons, saying the u.s. was acting to prevent a massacre of innocent civilians. >> some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. the united states of america is different. >> reporter: according to prominent yale law school professor stephen carter, this marks a significant moral shift in america's use of force. >> president obama, unlike his recent predecessors, has taken the position that one of the things the american military will do in the world is intervene to protect people who are being slaughtered by their own government, and that's an enormous break with america's practice. >> reporter: in previous conflicts, including the first gulf war and air strikes in the balkans, u.s. presidents argued that while humanitarian factors may have been at play, military action was in america's
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strategic interests. >> the argument that is being offered for libya is entirely the argument that we have no self-interest here except to protect these people who are going to be slaughtered. now i know a lot of people think, "well, there's something else going on, there's really another reason." who knows? all that could be true, but what's really interesting is that the language the white house is using is entirely the language of humanitarian intervention. >> reporter: carter has a new book called "the violence of peace: america's wars in the age of obama." he claims the man many voters considered the "peace candidate" has turned into a "war president" with an expanding philosophy about the use of force. carter says that philosophy was signaled in obama's 2009 acceptance of the nobel peace prize. >> inaction tears at our conscience and can lead to more costly intervention later. that's why all responsible nations must embrace the role
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that militaries with a clear mandate can play to keep the peace. >> what's striking about the war in libya, whether one is for it or against it, is that it shows that president obama was serious, that he actually meant what he said, that he actually believes that's a justifiable use of american power. >> reporte carter asserts that st. augustine and other early developers of the just war theory supported the idea of using force to achieve justice. >> today we look at self-defense as the axiomatic case where everyone agrees that's when you can go to war. for the early thinkers that was one of the weakest cases, because as augustine liked to say, "you should never go to war out of love for yourself but only out of love for others." >> reporter: the price of inaction, carter says, can indeed be terribly high, as was the case in rwanda when nearly a million people were killed in the 1994 genocide. the u.s. did not intervene there. >> president clinton later said
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that was the greatest failure of his presidency, and i think it's absolutely right. i think it was a grave moral mistake by the country that is not only the leader of the free world but also the preeminent military power in the world. >> reporter: how do you morally weigh libya versus darfur? >> what i think the administration has not done successfully in libya is made the case about why, if you're going to make a humanitarian intervention, this is the place to do it. there are places in the world that cry out for military intervention. darfur is the most obvious of those, where you have had a genocide go on for a long period of time. successive presidents have chosen not to go to darfur. why libya? why not bahrain? why not yemen? >> reporter: carter says the administration should make public the intelligence it acted upon. >> it's important that it try to explain to the american people and to the world why it was so certain that atrocities would be
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committed unless the west intervened quickly. >> reporter: and carter asserts the american public also has a responsibility in determining what things are worth killing for and dying for. >> we need to develop a moral language, an ability to talk about war because it's so very important, talk about war without regard to party or country but rather in the sense of what's fundamentally right or wrong. what is it that in a just society and just world, force should ever be used for? >> reporter: carter believes the centuries-old just war theory is still the best place to begin. >> it supplies a vocabulary, a vocabulary that asks us to think, is there a just cause? is this the last resort? can the use of force actually do the thing that we claim we are setting out to do? and is our use of force proportional to the problem we are trying to solve? when we ask questions like that, we're asking moral questions. i think those are the right questions to ask. >> reporter: and they are questions, he says, that will come up well beyond libya.
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i'm kim lawton reporting. the u.s. catholic bishops announced that last year the number of catholic clergy accused of sex abuse increased from 286 the year before to 345 last year. only seven of the claims concerned abuse that took place in 2010. most of the alleged abuses were decades old. since 2002, when the scandals broke, some $3 billion in settlements have been paid out. the number of religious schools in the country's inner cities has been going down for years, but there's a school in chicago that seems to have developed a model for survival. it's called holy family ministries, and it's a merger of episcopal and lutheran schools in a ministry that also includes secular social services. that has given holy family
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access to a much larger donor base, and the administrators say they can keep the religious instruction and its funding separate from the secular program. judy valente reports. >> i don't know about you. >> i don't know about you! >> but i'm ready for chapel. >> i'm ready for chapel! >> reporter: it may look like a pep rally, but at holy family ministries they call this chapel, the wednesday afternoon worship service. outside these walls is one of the highest-crime neighborhoods in illinois. in here the students are enthusiastic and well-behaved. >> god is good. >> reporter: holy family ministries calls itself a new model for christian education at a time when faith-based schools, especially those in the inner cities, struggle to stay alive. >> they always struggled, i think you'd say, but the only time they didn't is when they were tied to a single congregation, a single parish, where every parent had a child
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and they automatically supported it. >> reporter: as neighborhoods change and congregations shrink, there aren't enough students, parents, or dollars to support faith-based schools. susan work is president of holy family ministries. >> these schools are the jewels of their neighborhood, and we need to save them. but we can only save them if we have economic models that are more sustainable than one parish, one school. >> reporter: holy family ministries dispensed with the traditional model of a church school to pass on doctrine. instead, it created an umbrella organization that offers a variety of social programs in addition to classroom instruction. the idea isn't to proselytize, but to instill ethics and values. holy family started in 1985 as a small lutheran school. it raed $7 million in private funds to build this facility three years ago. today, holy family is a
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non-profit social services center and an episcopal charity as well as a christian school. >> we've had census workers training in here, we have wedding receptions, we've had a lot of baby showers, birthday parties, funeral repasts, just all kinds of things. by having a not for profit entity over everything, we could access some other sources of funding that we would not otherwise be able to attract if we just stayed as holy family lutheran school, a private school. >> reporter: only 15% of holy family's income comes from tuition. it gets the rest from private donors, grants, and government. >> good morning, holy family. >> reporter: to tap into that broad donor base, holy family draws a careful line between its social programs, which receive funding from the government and other secular sources, and its faith-based school, where the
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day begins with prayer followed by a mission statement. >> we, the students of holy family school, faithfully commit ourselves to spiritual growth and christian values. >> i love the mission statement because parents wrote it. the children pledge to listen to god, accomplish miracles, and be the best that they can be each and every day. >> and to be the best we can be each and every day. ♪ there are seven ere are seven days, there are seven days in a week ♪ >> reporter: this is part of holy family's secular outreach -- a pre-school program funded by the chicago public schools. >> chicago public schools doesn't really care where the program is delivered. their interest is in seeing that at-risk children all have a pre-school experience that will
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prepare them for later success. >> reporter: the pre-school program has its own director and budget and offers no religious instruction or activities. >> there's a lot of research out right now about pre-school that shows a correlation with later life outcomes. for example, lower rates of incarceration, lower dropout rates for high school, increased entrance into college. >> reporter: holy family's after-school programs, which emphasize fitness, and its nine-week summer camp are also secular. both are funded by the government. >> they are subsidies provided to parents to enable them to be out in the workforce. it subsidizes their childcare so that the parents can work. >> reporter: but fm 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., holy family is a faith-based school for 200 children, kindergarten through eighth grade. >> teachers do what they're comfortable with. we don't impose a certain amount of religious activity in any teacher's classroom. >> reporter: formal religious instruction takes place on
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wednesdays. >> we've already talked about the spiritual life and our prayer life. >> our goal with every child is that they would have a personal relationship with god by the time they leave this school. >> reporter: but the emphasis is on academics. holy family has a 100% graduation rate, and in the past five years, nearly 90% of its students have gone on to either private high schools with scholarships or charter schools. >> we want to turn out children of faith, but we know that those kids have to have skills, otherwise we've turned out wonderful human beings who don't have a job. >> reporter: this is what the wednesday chapel service looks like. >> we're not putting up any barriers that would keep people of various faiths from joining in the fun. ♪ we make faith development a very lively and attractive part of
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our program here, and we just try and keep it accessible to all the children no matter what their background is. >> reporter: for the parents, religion is not the most important thing here. martin marty. >> it's simply they want the best education for their child. trust is the big thing. they trust them to affirm the best in the family values. the schools are usually small enough that the teachers get to know everyone. >> reporter: tuition is $7,200, but the school pays more than half of that and must raise more than $1 million a year to do it. at events like this it tries to broaden its donor base by touting holy family as an investment in the community. >> it's safe, it's affordable, it's faith based, and holy family gets results. it's not uncommon at 3:00 to hear sirens instead of school bells in our neighborhood. and the sirens are going to these schools because there are gang fights and gang activities that takes place. >> my name is malik martin and i'm in fourth grade.
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>> reporter: to reach more affluent people, holy family put its development office 30 miles away, in the prosperous suburbs of chicago's north shore. half its income comes from donors, and that includes more than 30 congregations in the chicago area. >> teachers and tutors help us, and then we can make better grades. i know because i've been on the honor roll many times. [ applause ] >> reporter: michael berkowitz is a business leader who caught the holy family spirit. >> it's not about faith, what i believe in or what the students believe in. it's the fact of the goodness that's being done here. it has nothing to do with religion as far as why i would contribute my time and money. it has to do with how well they are treating students. >> reporter: martin marty thinks other faith-based schools, including those that are catholic, would do well to emulate holy family's approach.
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>> i think the model of the faith-based schools would be an excellent model for catholicism. they are just seeing their parochial schools die by the hundreds across the nation every year. i've been spending enough of my life on campuses to know how conservative structurally educational institutions are, if we've always done it that way it's awfully hard to think of the new. >> sure we're one school, but we're turning out leaders for the community for tomorrow. we're turning out the kids who are going to be able to finish college, not just get in, but finish, and have good careers. also i think we're affecting the community in a less measurable way by the symbol of hope and optimism that we have brought into this neighborhood. >> reporter: supporters of holy family believe that as long as it can keep the lights on and the books open, it can transform this part of the city one child at a time.
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for "religion and ethics newsweekly," i'm judy valente in chicago. in other news, the late john paul ii has been given a feast day by the vatican. it's october 22nd, the day on which he became pope. masses will now be held in his honor on that day in rome and poland. if pope john paul ii becomes a saint, as is widely expected, his feast day will be celebrated worldwide. on our calendar this week, the baha'i holiday, ridvan. the 12-day celebration commemorates the baha'i prophet baha'u'llah's announcement in 1863 that he was the new messenger of god. for jews passover begins at sundown monday with the seder, the special meal remembering god's leading the jews out of slavery in egypt.
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the exodus story tells how god punished the egyptians for not freeing the jews by killing their firstborn sons. but he passed over the homes of the jews, which they had marked with lamb's blood. every element of the seder symbolizes part of the exodus story, as described for us by rabbi sharon brous of ikar, a jewish group in los angeles dedicated to social justice. >> passover is the centerpiece of the jewish moral imagination and the jewish collective memory, and so every aspect of jewish liturgy, of the calendar, of the jewish experience in the world is in some way rooted in the experience of yetziat mitzrayim, of the exodus from egypt. our job as a community is to position ourselves spiritually,
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to prepare ourselves spiritually, so that we're ready when we go into our individual homes on seder night, that we're ready to receive the inspiration that will flow. the cleansing of our homes is part of the cleansing of the soul. this is part of the spiritual preparation. we live in this very paradoxical relationship with slavery, that's enunciated through the pages of the haggadah, the book that we use to guide us through the seder experience, in which we both articulate that we are free and we're celebrating our freedom, but also we are still slaves and maybe next year we'll be free. we recognize that our freedom is intimately linked to the freedom of those who are most vulnerable in our society today, and we can't be fully free until they are also free. matzah is the most powerful food substance there is. we hold it up at the beginning of the seder and say, "halach ma'anya," this is the bread of affliction, this is the bread of poverty, and it's also the bread of freedom. when we share our resources, when we live from a place of
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abundance instead of from a mindset of only scarcity, when instead we say "come in and share this meal with me, share this bread with me" so then it becomes the bread of freedom. i think actually the symbols on the seder plate are some of the most powerful ways of communicating what the essence of the passover experience really is about. so we have the egg, which is the symbol of the possibility of something completely new entering into the world. we have the karpas, the greens, which is something that seems like it's completely dead finding new life. and we dip it in salt water, so we remember the tears that we shed during the time of our suffering, and we remind ourselves that something beautiful and something new emerged from the depths of that suffering. there is the charoset, the sweet, it's this sweet tasting apple cinnamon mixture, which actually comes to remind us of the bricks and mortar when we were slaves in egypt. which i think is so interesting,
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there's something about this sort of sweetness of being stuck in a life that you know you don't want to stay in but it's comfortable because you've been there for a long time. and then on the other side there's chazeret, the lettuce, which is a kind of bitter lettuce, which comes to remind us that even once we're in freedom, there's a kind of bitterness that comes with everything that's unknown. and the shankbone, the symbol of the paschal lamb. the idea of this is that freedom came to the israelite people after the night that they were willing to go out and actually put the blood on the doorposts of their home and say "i'm ready to take part in my own liberation right now." all of the rituals around passover are designed to shake us out of our complacency and basically awaken us to the memory of the experience from egypt so that it's not only that we're remembering a story that our parents, and grandparents, and great grandparents told, but
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we're actually remembering it in our own human experience, that i remember walking from slavery to freedom because i was also there. >> and this is holy week, when christians mark jesus' death on good friday and his resurrection on easter. the week begins with palm sunday, the day, according to the new testament, on which jesus entered jerusalem and was greeted by crowds waving palm fronds. they welcomed him as a conquering hero, there to overthrow roman rule. churches commemorate the day with palm sunday processions. as the week continues, the mood becomes increasingly somber. on holy thursday, christians remember the last supper or the final meal jesus had with his disciples. the day is also called maundy thursday, named for jesus' command to his disciples to love one another.
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some clergy wash the feet of their congregants, as jesus is believed to have done for his disciples at the last supper. in some churches, members wash each other's feet. good friday is the day of the crucifixion. many christians follow the stations of the cross, a series of reflections on the final events of jesus' life.ay needs heavy, it needs to be tough, and it's good for us. it connects you with the fact that this world is basically, the human experience is basically one of suffering. >> in catholic and many protestant churches, altars, statues, and crosses are covered in dark cloth to mark the death of jesus. the shrouds remain through holy saturday, typically the quietest day on the church calendar, a day of mourning. the darkness gives way to light, however, as churches around the world celebrate the resurrection of jesus on easter sunday.
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♪ that's our program for now. i'm bob abernethy. we have much more on our website, including more of our interviews with stephen carter just war ethics and rabbi sharon brous on the meaning of passover. you can comment on all of our stories and share them. audio and video podcasts are also available. and because our website is a finalist again this year for the prestigious webby award from the international academy of digital arts and sciences, you'll find a link to where you can vote for us, we hope. join us at as we leave you, scenes from an interfaith ceremony at washington's national cathedral to mark the one month anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami in japan.
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♪ major funding for "religion and ethics newsweekly" is provided by the lilly endowment, an indianapolis based private family foundation dedicated to its founders' interest in religion, community development, and education. additional funding by mutual of america, designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company. and the corporation for public broadcasting.
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